By Samantha Lund, Guest Columnist
I’ve always thought abstinence was the art of doing nothing. When people said they were “practicing abstinence,” I would wonder how hard it is to do nothing. The Sex+: Abstinence lecture taught me there’s more to it.
Entering as a non-believer, I was waiting for a lecture on keeping my bits and pieces to myself until marriage: unrealistic for most people my age. Leaving the lecture, I was a changed woman who now thinks that abstinence is something everyone should practice.
This version of abstinence is not the standard. This abstinence is saying “no” to anything that does not completely represent what I want in a sexual encounter.
About 30 Sex+ students gathered Oct. 28 — with all their clothes on — to discuss abstinence. Abstinence, in the way students normally view it, was not the topic of the discussion. Author, activist, artist and educator Heather Corinna led the progressive discussion about individuals choosing their own path, leaving labels like ‘abstinent’ out of the night’s vocabulary.
Abstinence was transformed into abstaining from sex until the terms are perfect for you. This is it people, the peak of being Sex+: only having sex when it is in your best interest.
As students, from the second we step foot on campus, it seems like we have no time to think about anything except school and the future, and the few times we have a moment to think about something else, it is usually about food, clothes or the cute teacher’s aide we’ve been eyeing.
It is much harder for us to think about our absolutes — the terms and conditions we hold ourselves to. Knowing our boundaries is healthy. It brings us closer to ourselves and who we are. The Sex+ series asks students to look inside themselves and find their absolutes.
In the lecture, Corinna asked students to write on a wall under what terms they would like have sex, under what terms they would not and under what terms they can see themselves consenting. Every student should have their own answers to these questions.
Questions like these do come up in everyday life. You have to be OK with the situation you are in. If not, “you don’t have to take your clothes off.”
Waiting for your own terms to be fulfilled can be hard. It is harder than it has ever been before, because we are progressive people, and there are many more things we are comfortable adding to our terms.
Comparing today’s sex to sex 50 years ago there is a major difference. There are so many more groups, terms, methods and kinky contortionist sex positions that are easier to learn about. Everyone’s desires are vastly different in today’s world, and for once, people are becoming more comfortable asking for exactly what they want.
I completely agree with that aspect of the lecture. Learning what your terms are and waiting for them to be met is the only way to know a situation is right. Leaving sex out of the equation, you would not buy a car or choose a school that did not meet your standards.
Just the same, you should not ever settle for a relationship that does not meet your standards. You would not attend a school that did not have a philosophy program in the hopes of majoring in philosophy. Under the same logic, you should not have a partner whose philosophy negates condoms when you really want protection.
Here is where patience comes in. Wait. I know, asking students to wait for sex is like asking a teacher to have class outside — it is suggested all the time, but you never actually get to go sit outside. In this case, abstinence is still abstaining from sex, but not until marriage.
Realistically, be abstinent until your terms are met. Go out and explore yourself, do whatever you want — in the privacy of your own room, please — but make sure you are exploring on your terms and not anyone else’s.